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January 2008:
T
HAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT! By BOBBY GEORGE


Would you Adam & Eve it! Yet another New Year following yet another Xmas – and before you can blink an eye or throw a dart, there will be another along before you know it!

Trouble is, the older you get the quicker it comes – ask Marie!

The best thing about New Year - other than making all those resolutions you make and break before January is out – is Lakeside and the prospect of yet another wonderful World Pro.

Unbelievably, this will be my tenth consecutive year of ‘punditing’ (is there such a word?) and presenting the darts on BBC with me old mate, Ray Stubbs for nine days from the 5th to the 13th.

Ray is a real Pro, and I love working with him and the BBC, because they are the guv’nors. No one does TV sport better than the Beeb.

I know I’m a pundit, but it’s no good asking me to name a winner! On paper Gary Anderson should win his first World Pro title. 2007 was his year, he’s the bookies favourite, and he’s the form horse. He’s such a heavy scorer that he should win it…….BUT!

Lakeside has never been great for Gary (he got to the Semi’s in 2003) but look what happened last year with Phill Nixon and that amazing final with Martin Adams. He came to Lakeside as a qualifier and almost walked away with the silverware!

It can’t be a repeat for either Martin or Phill this year, because they’ve drawn each other in the First Round! Blimey, it’s something that’s never happened before, and it’s a shame really – but that’s the World Pro, and that’s the way the draw can go.

By the way, the reason Phill has two ‘ll’s’ in his name is because there are so many Phil’s in his family that he decided to make sure he stood out from the crowd with a double ll. He’s also been made an honorary member of Durham County Cricket Club and just a few weeks ago his local paper, The Northern Echo gave him their ‘Local Hero’ Award and it was presented by former Olympic athlete Steve Cram. Not many people know that!!

THAT’S THE WAY TO PHILL IT!

Anyway, no predictions from me (I’ve been in this game too long for that!). Let’s just say that any of the 32 players can win it – and whatever happens, I am in my tenth final with Ray Stubbs!

You can never predict BDO majors. That’s the beauty of the system. Look at the performance of Scotland’s Robert Thornton at the World Masters. He came through the tough floor matches and battled his way to the stage to win the oldest title in World Darts. It’s been played since 1974 and Robert’s name now joins some of the all-time ‘greats’ of darts. Well done to him – he really deserves his triumph, but the real icing on the cake (other than the 25 Grand cheque from Winmau) is the fact that it has got him back to Lakeside.

He’s got to be worth a few bob as a fancied ‘outsider’ at the bookies!

Oh, yes! Another well done to Johnboy Walton on that stunning 9-darter at the World Masters. There was a time when Johnboy couldn’t hit a double for love or money – but that double-12 went in as sweet as a nut!

Can he repeat the feat at Lakeside? He got £2,000 at Bridlington. If he does it at Lakeside he’ll pocket £52,000!

THAT’S THE WAY TO 9-DART IT!

One real moan from the Masters was the ‘no drinking’ rule for the spectators watching the preliminary rounds. I do understand that players should not drink alcohol when playing, but when the public pay good money to go and watch darts, is it fair to tell them that they can’t take a drink into the room while they watch?

Personally, I think it’s wrong, and has got to change.

THAT’S NOT THE WAY TO DRINK IT!

Because of printing deadlines, I am writing this before the 2008 World Pro, so let me tell you about a couple of things.

First of all, Mike Bushell, who presents the sports news on BBC Breakfast, came down to George Hall to do a TV feature that you can see on the morning of January 5th as the perfect launch of the 31st consecutive World Pro.

Mike is a lovely man who takes on a new sporting challenge each week, so I asked him to come down to George Hall for a bit of darts ‘training’ and to play ‘A Leg With Bobby’.

He’s a big fan of darts and, without giving too much away, I can tell you that he had a great time at George Hall, and because of his daring sporting challenges, I have nicknamed him Mike ‘Who Dares Wins’ Bushell.

THAT’S THE WAY TO BREAKFAST TV IT!

Just to prove that people read my column each month, take a butcher’s at the photo of Sue Waterman, who plays for Essex County. She read about the unique saying which I highlighted in the column. It has ten 2-letter words:
‘If it is to be it is up to me’

Sue loved it so much that she had it tattooed on her arm!

THAT’S THE WAY TO TATTOO IT!

Talking about sayings, there was one in Darts World last month that made me laugh out loud:

‘Infamy! Infamy!! They’ve all got it in for me!!!’

It was by an anonymous writer…..What a Carry On!

THAT’S THE WAY TO INFAMY IT!

And talking about laughing, I fell about when a geezer came up to me at a recent exhibition and had 20 – yes 20 – signed photo’s!

I looked at him and asked: ‘Are these all yours?’ He just gave me a wink and replied: ‘I’m not the only one who loves you, Bobby. My mates do as well!’

THAT’S THE WAY TO PHOTO IT!

Returning to TV, I was tickled by a review of my appearance in ITV’s’Don’t Call Me Stupid’ by Giles Smith of The Times. He’s a man who writes some ‘wicked’ stuff on televised darts, but who is nevertheless fair and funny.

The headline cracked me up: ‘King of Bling’s tale: fishy twist to works of the lesser known Geoffrey Torso’.

OK. It was a bit of a p****take, but I love humour in writing, and Mr.Giles is something of an expert. This is just a little of what he wrote:

“Where else are you likely to see Bobby George answer questions on Geoffrey Chaucer after a crash course in medieval literature from Vanessa Feltz?

‘Have you heard of The Canterbury Tales’?” the television presenter asked her pupil. To which the ‘King of Bling’ replied: ‘No, doll’, and to judge from the way he referred to the author for the next ten minutes as Geoffrey Torso, the darter was not bluffing.

“George, in turn, had to introduce Feltz to his passion. Not darts, as it turned out. ‘There’s only one thing that beats fishing” he said. “That’s making love while fishing’.

“Not many darts players from the 1980s have their own lake, George has two – both at George Hall, his mansion in rural Essex. During the quiz portion of the show, George’s unconventional habit of wheeling away from his lectern to share a laugh with the audience behind him, could have been learnt only, one felt, on the oche.

“It was also proof of a rare talent for connecting with people across any number of plausible barriers. Call me ‘spasmotic’ but I still think it could come good for him, celebrity television wise. He just needs a break.”

There was lots more and I was so pleased that I sent a personal email to Giles Smith. He didn’t believe it was Bobby George at first. He thought it must be someone pulling his leg!

I suppose that’s the trouble with taking the p**** sometimes. You never believe the truth when it hits you in the face!! Anyway, we have since made proper contact and it turns out that Mr.Smith’s mother lives in Colchester so, before long he’s going to be coming down to George Hall for a bit of fishing, a bit of Chaucer, a game of darts, and lots of Chinese and lager!

THAT’S THE WAY TO SMITH IT!

Staying on the subject of taking the ‘p’’ I was disappointed to hear Barry Hearn criticise darts players and disrespect the sport when he was interviewed on ITV during the recent Grand Slam of Darts.

Like everyone else who loves darts, I was genuinely delighted to see it back on ITV, but when he boasted that ITV was now seeing the ‘professionals’ and that the only previous darts on terrestrial TV (meaning BBC) was played by part-time, pub playing amateurs, I was horrified.

In one sentence he dismissed 30 years of BBC darts and all the players seen in the World Pro since 1978 – BDO and those now in the PDC, including Phil Taylor and Raymond Barneveld.

I think he should apologise and remember another well known saying that goes something like this: ‘He who goes to the well the most will surely find it dry’. Or, as I prefer to say: ‘If you keep letting people in the front door, you will be pushed through the back door’.

THAT’S NOT THE WAY TO DO IT!

I enjoyed being a guest at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ last month. Not only did I rub shoulders with some of the ‘greats’, but I was also invited to the Stella Artois pre-show drinks and dinner.

I like posh lager, but I’m not into tennis! The reason they asked me to be in their company once again is because they found it ‘boring’ without me! ‘You do make us laugh, Bobby’ said one of the glamorous young ladies. What can you say to that at my age?

Anyone for tennis? New balls please! I’ve got the bat!

THAT’S THE WAY TO TENNIS IT!

Don’t forget that my book ‘Bobby Dazzler’ is now out in paperback and I will be signing loads of copies at Lakeside.

When it came out in hardback last year it got some great reviews and The Independent made it their ‘Book Of The Week.’ But, my favourite quote has to be the one from Nick Royle of Setanta Sports, who simply said:

‘If Bobby George was a footballer, he would have been George Best’.

Praise indeed! Funnily enough, we do share the same initials, but the other way round: BG and GB.

The comparisons end there, unless of course you put it into context. Like me George Best played his sport because he loved it and every time he played he entertained.

I can’t play football and he couldn’t play darts, but in our ‘pomp’ we both enjoyed the ‘fun’ of competing and putting on a show.

THAT’S THE WAY TO PLAY IT!

Which brings me nicely to the end of my first column of 2008. A Very Happy New Year to all my readers. May you enjoy health and happiness in the year ahead.






 

 

 

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